Alexandria, Virginia

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has named Donald Mackin of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, a Highway Angel. Mackin, a professional truck driver for ABF Freight System, Inc., of Fort Smith, Arkansas, is being recognized for being the only person to respond to an accident during a nasty “thundersnow.”

On January 28, 2013, at about 6:30 p.m., Mackin was driving on I-495 near Tauton, Massachusetts. As he headed back to his terminal, it was snowing heavily, with thick, blowing drifts that covered the roadway, hiding the lane markings. Up ahead, he saw a vehicle start to spin and then careen down an embankment into the woods. Although it was rush hour and there were plenty of vehicles on the road, no one stopped to help.

Mackin knew the accident could not be seen from the road, so he pulled over and called 911. He told the operator what had happened and promised to stay put (his large tractor trailer was easier to see in the snow and would quickly help police pinpoint the exact place where they needed to be). After the operator had been informed of what to look for, he went to the driver and found him crying inside the smoking car. He was obviously distressed and badly shaken. Mackin brought the man into his warm tractor to wait until the police arrived.

The motorist was so grateful that he later wrote to ABF expressing his sincerest thanks for the kindness Mackin showed him that evening. “This extraordinary human being went to my car without stopping to think of himself,” he wrote. “I will forever be grateful to Donny for having been there, taking me in, until the trooper showed up. People like Donny are hard to find, and ABF is very lucky to have a person like him to call one of their own.”

Mackin, who has held a CDL for more than 38 years, said: “I go by hundreds of accidents a year. I feel I don’t have to stop if others are already there at the scene. But this time—when I saw no one else stopping—I knew it was the right thing to do. It’s a crazy world out there behind the wheel.”

For braving the elements to help a motorist, Mackin has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. ABF Freight System, Inc., also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.